X-marks the spot for BMW UK sales successes.
The SUV series begins with the X1 and since its launch in 2009 over 40,000 have been sold in Britain. Last autumn the second series was announced and first orders are now trickling through.
The new X1 runs to five models from about £31,225 to £36,060 with a choice of three diesels – 1.8 150, 2.0 190 or 2.5 231hp – and a 192hp 2.0 petrol. The best seller is expected to be the 190hp 2.0 td which develops 400Nm.
There is a familiar but updated appearance to the X1 but in reality it’s taller to improve rear seat room and luggage space as well, benefitting from three-section split and folding backrests for immense practicality.
The fascia has been restyled and angled towards the driver while the iDrive Control Display has standard 6.5 inch or optional 8.8 inch monitor.
The engines are all new while the xDrive powertrain is further refined to improve front wheel or four-wheel grip.
Key to the improvements and responses is a new chassis platform and linkages intended to sharpen responses but soften the ride.
Engine power and delivery has been improved and the 2.0d gains 7hp over the previous version, but it also uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions, so it’s a win-win x1.
A new body design incorporates air deflectors and even underbody smooth panels to ease its passing, so reducing energy needed and drag.
There is no doubting the new model is an improvement, principally because it’s smoother and quieter in character.
The latest 2.0d engine is a good starter and pulls with ease and efficiency, the automatic changes are seamless and mechanical noise levels are very low.
Brakes and steering give a lot of feel and feedback, work well and endow the x1 Sport with great agility and responses over any surface and type of road. A mixture of winding country lanes and more open sweeping roads showed off the x1 to be in its element.
The ride has improved but it’s not as soft as I was expecting, the big wheels and tyres on the test car finding the tarmac breaks and ridges and sometimes banging over them.
Inside, the seats do a good job of smoothing out the ride imperfections and they give very good support with a wide adjustment range available and even those in the back would have plenty of knee and headroom.
The standard automatic fifth door opens from bumper level to reveal a wide, flat and deep compartment and the capacity rises from just over 500 litres to a maximum 1550 litres as the rear seat gradually folds away.
Access for driver and passenger was good, visibility clear all round, wipers were effective and quiet in operation.
For any BMW driver, the major and minor controls relationship and operation are paramount and the x1 will not disappoint. From the moment you slip behind the wheel, everything seems in the right place. Everything works very well and the new wrap-around fascia and straightforward dials are clear.
Heating and ventilation was comprehensive and worked well, powered windows are standard on all but entry level models but a sunroof is not available.
Oddments room was modest with only small compartments to stow items and most things would end up on the floor or back seat, which is surprising in what many consider a family car. There is no doubt the new BMW x1 is a big step up over the predecessor and it now does very well what its larger x3 stablemate has done so far, so its even tougher for any rivals to better, particularly when you look at enhanced residual values down the line.
|BMW x120d Sport||£31,550 (£40,465 as tested)|
|Insurance Group: 29||Mechanical: 190hp 4cyl 1995cc turbo-diesel, 8sp auto|
|Max Speed: 137mph||0-62mph: 7.6sec|
|C02 emissions: 128gkm||Combined MPG: 58.9mpg (41mpg on test)|
|Bik rating: 23%||Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited|
For: Powertrain performance and economy, fit and finish, room and practicality.
Against: Firm ride with larger wheels and tyres, modest oddments space.